Restaurant Nili – Authentic Finnish and Lapland Cuisine

There are only a handful of restaurants in the small town of Romaniemi in Finland. Ask anyone in Rovaniemi for a restaurant recommendation and Restaurant Nili will always be one of the top choices.

I highly recommend you to make a reservation beforehand but my friends and I were lucky to get a table without reservations.


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Lappish wood lines the entrance of Restaurant Nili gives the restaurant a rustic feel.

Stepping into Restaurant Nili feels like going into the traditional home of a Finnish family. Lappish wood, reindeer horns and reindeer leather decorates the restaurant, giving the place a cosy ambiance.

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We were shown into a small room known as “Reindeer Room” where the ceiling and walls are lined with reindeer leather. There are black-and-white photographs in wooden picture frames hanging on the walls depicting the landscape and people of Lapland.

The Food

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We happened to be there when they were celebrating their anniversary so there is a specially curated menu.

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Each of us got a glass of Roi Rojito [12€]. It’s a cocktail drink of Bacardi rum, lime, sparkling bilberry and fresh mint. It’s sweet and minty, the perfect start to a great meal.

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First, we each got a small piece of potato flatbread topped with creamy reindeer moussse.

Appetizer is a bigger piece of  potato flat bread called gahkku, topped with toppings of your choice:

Smoked Rainbow Trout is the crowd-pleaser. The salty smoked fish works well with fennel, egg and herb salad with butter milk dressing to give it a touch of richness.

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For a more local speciality, there is Smoked Reindeer Horseradish Mousse. The red sauce on the side is “lingonberry ketchup” made with wild lingonberries gives a tangy sweet taste. Pickled cucumber, pickled onion and dried reindeer meat gives the dish a subtle smokiness.

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Next up is a thick Black Salsify Cappuccino with Maalahti Bread Crumb. Salsify is a root vegetable that tastes slightly sweet giving the cappuccino a natural sweetness.

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The safest choice for main course is the Glow Fried Sea Salmon with Honey Dijon Mustard Glaze. The glaze makes the salmon taste amazing.

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In my opinion, Beef Cheek Stewed in Red Wine is the best of the 3 main courses. The beef chunks are melt-in-the-mouth tender, accompanied by rosemary gremolata, buttery mashed potatoes and honey carrots.

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Dessert was Fresh Sea Buckthorn Posset. Sea buckthorn is a bright orange berry that has a fruity sweetness. Topping the sea buckthorn with salt caramel, berries and oat granula to balances the flavors.

Restaurant Nili

Address: Valtakatu 20, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland

Telephone: +358 40 036 9669

Opening Hours: Daily 12pm – 11pm


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